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PH open to talk with ICC on drug war probe -Remulla

(Photo by Janna Marie Pineda/PIA-NCR)

MANILA, (PIA) -- Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin "Boying" Remulla on Friday said the Philippines is open to a dialogue with the International Criminal Court (ICC) but the government will not accept impositions.

"We're willing to open a dialogue with them. We're not closing the doors for dialogue, but they cannot come in here and impose themselves upon us. That is a no-no," Sec. Remulla said during a briefing held at the Department of Justice in Manila after the Pre-Trial Chamber of the ICC allowed the continuation of the investigation on the war on drugs of the previous administration.

"If they want data, we will provide data. But to impose themselves on us, that is totally unacceptable," he added.

Remulla said the Philippines has undertaken relevant investigations that sought a deferral of the Court’s investigations on the basis of the complementarity principle.

The Justice secretary said the ICC is just complimentary to the local courts and only when local courts are not functioning can the country resort to the foreign trial chamber.

"As a country, we are doing what it takes to fix the system, and we are a fully functioning judicial system, and I don't see where they will come in, what role they will play? Unless they want to take over our legal system or they want to take over the country, and I don't see that happening," he emphasized.

"The world knows that we are a functioning country with a functioning judicial system," he added.

Remulla also said that he has yet to speak with President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. on the ICC pre-trial chamber's ruling authorizing the resumption of the war on drugs probe.

"I will speak to the Solicitor General (Menardo Guevarra) about the course of action that we will take as a country here," he said.

"Definitely, I do not welcome this move of theirs, and I will not welcome them to the Philippines unless they make it clear that they will respect us in this regard," he added.

Remulla said the ICC do not have compulsory process in the country.

"They will not even be empowered to issue subpoenas in the country. They have not even coordinated with us about it," he said.

For his part, Solicitor General Menardo Guevarra said the government intended to appeal the ICC decision.

We wish to emphasize that our own domestic investigative and judicial processes should take precedence, and we can show that despite structural and resource limitations in our legal system, it is still a well-functioning system that yields positive results in its own time,” Guevarra said in an interview.

It can be recalled that the principle of complementarity in international law, states that: The ICC is complementary to national criminal jurisdictions, meaning States have the primary competence and authority to investigate and prosecute international crimes.

It was in September 2021, when the chamber approved the start of an investigation into the crimes allegedly committed from November 2011 to March 2019 in the context of the previous administration’s war on drugs.

In November 2021, however, the international body temporarily suspended its probe, following a request from the Philippine government. (PIA-NCR)

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Jerome Carlo Paunan


National Capital Region

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